‘I don’t wine and dine,’ says Cele, highlighting the role of alcohol in violent crime

Police Minister Bheki Cele is seen during a press briefing at the Department of Defence Logistic Support Formation Tekbase, 18 March 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

‘The longer they stay, the more they drink, the more they kill each other,’ the minister says.

At a media briefing following the release of the latest crime statistics, police minister Bheki Cele highlighted the role of alcohol in contributing to violent crime in South Africa.

Alcohol is a contributing factor to “a big portion” of crimes, Cele said.

“The longer they stay, the more they drink, the more they kill each other,” he said of venues that sold alcohol.

He also highlighted that the illegal sale of alcohol was a problem, stating that this applied not only to alcohol sold in unlicensed venues but alcohol sold to under 18s in licensed venues.

In response to a question on alcohol’s contribution to our violent crime rate, Cele mentioned that he didn’t drink.

“I don’t wine and dine,” he said.

60% of contact crimes were committed on weekends, according to the stats.

Cele admitted to dropping the ball in terms of either reducing or maintaining the murder stats, but also said there was hope and improvement in some categories.

READ MORE: Cele incorrectly says SA is the only country in the world that publishes crime stats

Cele suggested that solving South Africa’s crime problems would require not just the work of law enforcement and government, but the contribution of non-government organisations (NGO).

He said that he was working more with NGOs and society at large to deal with crime decisively.

South Africa was not yet in a situation where “heads should roll” in the police ministry, he added.

This after it was mentioned that he said last year heads would indeed roll if crime increased.

Cele said he believed the rising tide of crime could be reversed, and that heads couldn’t roll yet as progress was being made.

On the scourge of gender-based violence, Cele said he supported President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to open cold cases involving these crimes.

Efforts to recruit and train more women to deal with gender violence cases must be made, he added.

The stats were declared official at the press briefing by statistician general Risenga Maluleke.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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